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Jason Toft from the UW Wetland Ecosystem Team has been monitoring shoreline armor restoration in Puget Sound for over a decade at sites where artificial armor on beaches has been removed to facilitate the restoration of intertidal areas.
Shoreline armor, also known as seawalls and bulkheads, occurs on over 25% of Puget Sound’s shorelines and was historically installed along homes and infrastructure to address erosion risk. We now know that in many cases armor does not prevent erosion and actually disrupts natural processes that replenish sand and gravel to beaches that provide habitat for fish and wildlife. As more and more sites are being restored, efforts to understand the effectiveness of restoration techniques are critical to developing future best practices and design for armor alternatives.
Partnering with community science groups, Washington Sea Grant, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vashon Nature Center, Northwest Straits Foundation, Friday Harbor Laboratories, and Sound Data, the collaborative project begun with developing publicly accessible, standardized protocols to allow for widespread shoreline monitoring and training. The team was funded by EPA Puget Sound Geographic Program Funds through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources Habitat Strategic Initiative Lead.